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Choctaw means business

The Extended Tribe: Ways to Give Back

   Known as one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" in the 19th century, the Choctaw Nation has a deep tradition of self reliance and innovation. Long before the Spaniards made contact, Choctaws built a thriving society that revolved around the core values of stewardship of the land and its people, a commitment that continues to this day. The Nation has been a powerful force in shaping history while keeping its values and traditions intact. An important aspect of the Choctaw culture is trade and other business ventures. The Nation is currently one of Oklahoma's largest employers, operating 19 major businesses and employing thousands of people.

   The historical seat of the Nation's government is located in Tvshka Homma, while the current government is headquartered in Durant. However, the Nation extends far beyond the borders of Oklahoma into every state in the Union. Many members of the Nation have found success through education, business and entrepreneurship but rarely learned the Choctaw language or traditional culture. These members, however, are very interested in deepening and maintaining their connection to their Choctaw roots, regardless of whether these members actually reside within the Nation's territory.

   Recently Chief Gregory E. Pyle commissioned the Choctaw Business Development Center (CBDC) as one of several initiatives to harness the enormous potential of the Nation to deliver sustainable businesses and opportunities for the Choctaw people.

   According to Chief Pyle, "One of the primary questions I hear from Choctaw Nation members almost everywhere I go is 'How can I give back to the Choctaw Nation and what is the best way to do that?'. This is one reason I commissioned the Choctaw Business Development Center." Chief Pyle continues, "Job creation, economic growth, diversification and sustainability of the Choctaw people and our heritage are paramount to my administration."

   "We see the CBDC as totally focused on sustainability - a sort of self-perpetuating Choctaw business machine," says Bill Wimberley, the Choctaw Nation's Chief Business & Economic Development Officer. "The CBDC is a catalyst for business creation and advancement for Southeast Oklahoma. A crucial component of the CBDC is providing ways for Choctaw tribal members living outside the area to connect with and contribute to the ongoing business success of the Nation."

   The CBDC is headquartered in Durant but it is designed to have a virtual connection to all 10.5 counties of SE Oklahoma and give far flung tribal members of the Choctaw Nation opportunities to directly impact economic development through mentoring, coaching, consulting, encouraging, and, soon, investing in Choctaw businesses in SE Oklahoma.

   "I have talked with scores of tribal members outside of the Nation's territory and all of them are highly motivated to participate in, and give back to, the Nation in SE Oklahoma," states Wimberley. "They have a passion for their roots in the Nation and, until recently, did not see a clear path to contributing. We are giving them that path!"

   More than just a business creator, the CBDC will provide a complete "eco-system" for qualified Choctaw entrepreneurs and business owners in SE Oklahoma. As envisioned, the CBDC goes beyond traditional business "incubators" by providing a complete infrastructure for aspiring Choctaw business people, and this infrastructure will include supporting origination, incubation, acceleration, and assimilation of businesses, as well as business relocation, if needed.

   The CBDC is developing a comprehensive strategy to identify specific opportunities in areas such as retail, technology, food production and cultural arts. The CBDC is designed to give new and existing businesses a greater success rate, which greatly depends upon aligning the mission and goals of the CBDC with the specific needs of the region's entrepreneurs and business owners.

   The tradition of the Choctaw business is long established. "Business is the way to showcase Choctaw tradition, culture and values to the world." says Ruth Glendinning, Creative Director for the CBDC. "One of the core values of the Nation is to be stewards of the land and its people. We believe that businesses that are inspired by the past and strengthened by core values are the pathway to a sustainable future."

   For the members of the Nation who are located outside Oklahoma, the CBCD offers a unique opportunity to have a significant impact on strengthening the economic future of the Nation. Many of the Nation's extended membership operate successful businesses throughout the country and even the world. It is this experience that can be extremely valuable to both budding entrepreneurs and seasoned business people in SE Oklahoma.

   "The experience gained outside Oklahoma is a rich resource of knowledge that we should give to those within Oklahoma who desire a better life and more successful careers," states Wimberley. "From artisans to high tech entrepreneurs, we are providing a platform to maximize and engage every possible advantage to ensure success both in the immediate time frame and in the future."


 This article and others came from the Choctaw Nation Biskinik. To see more history please refer to the following sites.

Sounds of Choctaw - Social Greeting
Sounds of Choctaw - Weather
Lesson of the Day